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Tips on serving wine for the holidays: The Wine Critic answers your questions!


Every time the holidays roll around, This Critic is flooded with requests from perplexed readers on how to choose wines for the Christmas, Hanukah, Kwaanza or Solstice table! It can be overwhelming for ordinary people, with all the choices out there, and not knowing what to believe! Which is why I’m glad to offer my expert advice.

You’d be surprised at the range of things people ask about. For example, here’s a question from Mrs. A., of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “Dear Mr. Wine Critic, we’re having my in-laws over for supper this Christmas, and I just don’t know what to do! My husband, Frank, says beer is fine (he’s a Pabst man), but I feel that, with something as fancy as meat loaf, we should have wine. Please tell me what kind.”

Don’t you feel Mrs. A.’s pain? Here’s my answer. “Dear Mrs. A., you have hit the nail l on the head! Meat loaf is indeed a very special entrée, especially if it’s made with a nice ketchup topping. I would recommend Two Buck Chuck with that. It’s actually in a bottle with a cork! That should impress your guests.”

Here’s another one, this time from Anchorage, Alaska. “Hey there, Wine Critic Guy, we’re having the usual feast with all the trimmin’s for Xmas. Up here, that includes fried blubber, a trad fave. But what kind of wine goes with it? [signed] Blubber Dude” “Dear Blubber Dude: I’d recommend you eat a bottle of Quaaludes, and then you won’t care what you drink. In fact, you won’t be drinking anything, because you’ll be in a coma for the next six months. But look at it this way: at least you won’t have to deal with your lousy winters!”

Then there’s this plaintive question from Shirley W., of Chillicothe, Ohio. “Dear Wine Critic, I’m a housewife, and my husband lost his job at the lathe factory 2 years ago and hasnt worked since.  We’re living on our tiny savings that are just about dipleted.  My question is, the holidays is a time to splurge, but we just don’t have the money!!! So, I guess I’m asking, is it O.K. to steal a nice bottle of wine, just this one time a year?”

Dear Shirley W., of course it is! Why would you even ask, when the answer is so obvious? And not just this time of year; every day is the right time to shoplift that special bottle. So go out and Occupy that Wine Store!!! While you’re at it, can you stop by your local jewelry store and pick me up a nice Rolex? I like the Men’s Daytona Automatic Chronograph, with the Meteorite Dial. Pretend you’re having a heart attack, and while the clerk is freaking out, you can slip it into your pocket, and then suddenly recover.

“Dear Mr. Wine Critic, I’m invited to a holiday meal in which the hosts are in the process of getting divorced. He likes red wine, especially Bordeaux. She likes a nice, sweet Moscato. What should I bring? [signed] Friend of Fighting Friends”

Dear FOFF, this situation arose during my recent visit to China. I solved it by mixing a little Moscato in with some Lafite and calling it “Mosceaux.”™

“Hey critic, who the f**k do you think you are, telling everybody what to do, when you dont know sh*t from shinola? Why dont you go out and get yourself a real job like the rest of us? [signed] Factory Joe.” Dear Factory Joe, I actually don’t know how to do anything else. But if I ever learn how to weld, I’ll see you down on the factory floor! Meanwhile, for the holidays, I recommend you and the Missus enjoy a nice bottle of Harlan ‘01. If you can’t find any where you live, let me know, and I’ll intervene personally with Bill. I suggest drinking it with a Kobe beef filet made from real Japanese Wagyu, not that inferior Texas crap. Give the wine a brief decant, preferably in a Riedel “Black Tie” (model #4100/23). No sauce on the steak, puh-leeze, just a little Fleur de Sel and some Surinamese black pepper, ground in a Peugeot pepper mill with a black mahogany base. And, of course, you’ll want to drink the wine in a Riedel Sommeliers Bordeaux glass. If you follow my instructions carefully, I believe you shall experience 100 perfect points of holiday bliss! Please accept my very best wishes for a safe, happy Christmas/Hanukah/Kwaanza or Solstice Ceremony, and I’ll see you out on the wine trail in 2012! [signed] The Wine Critic!

  1. I’m looking for a wine to go with dinner on Festivus, the 23rd. Something to relax the family before the Airing of Grievances. Any suggestions?

  2. Morton, you’re on your own.

  3. What wine goes with beer?

  4. I’m glad that you didn’t stay in comedy…

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